Fred Factor is a story about an ordinary postman, a real person who is doing his job in an extraordinary way. There are many lessons that can be learned from this book and the biggest learning I had is about creating value and fostering relationship. Life and work is all about relationship.
Fred Shea is the main character of this book who exemplifies the positive traits that a person in all stages of life needs. Anybody who has his traits is called “Fred” to identify the person from whom these admirable traits were first seen and experienced by the author, Mark Sanborn who is a motivational speaker. The author used Fred as an example in his lectures of a person rising above his job description and providing value to work at the same time enhancing not only the quality of service but also providing dignity to work.
Mr. Sanborn summarized the four principles he learned from Fred which can be applied anytime, in any situation, in any work, by anyone. He called them the “Fred Principles”. The following are the four Fred Principles:
1. Everyone makes a difference. Whatever position or kind of job you have, you can always make a difference. Fred is an ordinary postman doing routine work of delivering mail (during the time when snail mail is still the way we communicate as opposed to the present email, social media like facebook and twitter and SMS, MMS). However, he did his work extraordinarily as experienced by the author, from an impersonal delivery machine, Fred addressed the needs of the people in his area of operation such as keeping watch on the homes not only the mails of the people he serve. He chose to do things differently. Fred keeps himself inspired and seeks to improve the way of doing things.
2. Success is built on relationships. Everything begins and ends with the person; hence, relationship determines the quality of service that we receive. Impersonalized service or business would not last long since people would not go back to you. It takes good relationship for a person to succeed. Fred was successful since he recognize that to deliver good service he must know the needs of the customers and he can only determine their needs if he know them personally. Leaders became successful by the quality of relationship he established with his people, his customers and his alliances or partners.
3. You must continually create value for others, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Fred created value by thinking creatively of delivering value (not just mail) to his customers, by addressing their needs and walking the extra mile, even doing rounds of the neighborhood even when he is off-duty to talk to his customers and look for things that needs to be done. In life we do not have many choices on our status in life but we have choice on how we lived our life. By thinking how to excel in life, Fred overcome mediocrity in performing his job, he decided to excel in the way he delivers service to his customers, that is the value that Fred gives without costing him a centavo.
4. You can reinvent yourself regularly. Any person can reinvent himself or herself daily and do things in a way that is not thinkable to others. Fred has decided to work differently and he regularly commits to do things the best way he saw at every opportunity he got. He conquered mediocrity and excel in his work and that is the Fred factor.
Mark Sanborn armed with his encounter with Fred has continually looked for Fred in every person he met or acknowledged the Fred in them. He saw and called “Fred” the lady supervisor of housekeeping in a hotel whose staff has already left, who took extra effort of bringing home his laundry so he could wear it the next day.
Fred is everywhere, the lady attendant of the plane who entertained the passengers with being funny but delivering efficient and effective service and the night auditor of a hotel who went out of his way to buy from a restaurant the special meal that a daughter wants for her father on Father’s Day. This Fred provided extraordinary service not required by his job but in return, the grateful father has given the hotel a valuable contract, adding more value for valued relationship.
Have you found your Fred?